Re: Rating cell phone calls [telecom]

hancock4@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
On Jul 3, 11:52 am, "Adam H. Kerman" <a...@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Rate centers were an attempt to impose inapplicable concepts of rating
land line calls onto cell phones. In land lines, there is allegedly
some relationship between pricing and routing of a call, but to call
a cell phone from a land line, the actual interface between the two
carriers could be anywhere. Cell phone providers really only needed one
rate center per market they were selling service in, because really,
their subscribers would be unaware of the concept and wouldn't care and
wouldn't know to ask for a number associated with a specific rate center.

Not exactly. In the early days of cellphones it was different.
Subscribers did have to pay for long distance and extra-charge roaming
territories were much smaller. The assigned rate center of the phone
was significant. It did make sense, because of the cell subscriber
was far away from his home exchange he had to pay roaming for the

Now of course things are much different--charges for roaming or long
distance in the U.S. are rare.

The concepts of "rate center" and "roaming" aren't related. If on the
edge of territory and the subscriber had the misfortune to have his call
picked up by a tower for which roaming charges would be imposed, he'd
have to pay them even if his assigned rate center happened to be in the
same area. Rate center is a concept for distance rating of local calls
from land lines only. Roaming is a time and physical location concept.
Rate Center isn't the basis of rating long distance calls anyway.

"Rate center" is a concept strictly applicable to rating local calls
from land lines for distance charges. It doesn't apply to rating long
distance calls for distance which, in metropolitan areas at least, were
always calculated between given points within a consolidation of rate
centers. Sorry, I don't recall the correct term. This had some relation
to how long distance calls were routed, as they had to be handed off to
toll offices for completion.

If a cell phone subscriber has a local plan, calls within the plan's
area are never rated for distance, only time. Therefore, "rate center"
has no application whatsoever to rating cell phone calls.

When a long distance call was made from a cell phone, it was handed off
to a long distance provider. I recall having to make a choice among four
long distance providers. These calls were rated for distance, but like
long distance calls made from land lines, never rated between rate
centers themselves. To rate a long distance call from a cell phone for
distance, the call's origin need be a single point in the metropolitan
area the caller happens to be standing in.

Few subscribers to cell phone service would have had any idea what a
rate center was, so there was never a need for a cellular provider to
offer prefixes in each rate center, or even most rate centers, in a
market they were signing up customers in. Cellular providers were not
competing on the basis of who had the most rate centers and subscribers
wouldn't even consider any distance-related cost imposed on land line
subscribers making distance-rated local calls to the cell phone number.

Furthermore, new subscribers were assigned to rate centers seemingly
randomly, never on the basis of billing address. One might live in the
northern suburbs and not be assigned to a nearby rate center, instead
being assigned to a rate center in the western, eastern, or southern
suburbs or even in the central city. If a subscriber knew to ask AND the
salesman knew how to write up the request, yeah, one could choose a rate
center, but this would be an unusual situation.

Furthermore still, cellular providers used area code-prefix combinations
of any area code in that metropolitan area for rate centers, ignoring
area code boundaries within the metropolitan area that land line
providers would generally obey. It's possible that a cellular provider
could have assigned area code and prefix combinations for area codes
outside the metropolitan area, but I'll assume this wasn't done.

Rate center assignment of cell phone numbers was exceedingly wasteful of
scarce numbering resources. If this had to be done, then the line
numbers should have been assigned neutrally from area code/prefix
combinations already in use for land lines at that rate center, but I
don't see why this had to be done at all. Each cell phone provider
should have used a single rate center per metropolitan area, allowed to
assign numbers in any area code in the metropolitan area without
geographic restrictions, with incoming calls from landlines rated
without a distance component.

And no, I wouldn't have favored cellular only area codes as attempted in
New York, which fails to address the only issue that incoming local calls
from land lines shouldn't have been distance-rated.